“Nice,” I say, motioning to the plane.
“I like nice things.” His eyes roam over me.
I look away as I try to recover my breath, something he seems adept in fucking up for me. “How many times have you lost this plane?”
“This particular one?” He cocks his head thoughtfully. “None. A few like this?” His eyes narrow even more. “About six times.”
“What do you do when you lose it? Fly commercial?”
“I borrow money and win me another. A better one.”
“Is that what you do when you lose a woman too?”
“Of course.” He answers in that same mocking tone I’m not sure means he agrees or not. Then he shifts forward, his gaze unreadable as he looks deeply into me. “Isn’t that what you’re doing?”
Silence. My heart drums a little faster as Cullen lifts his hand and tucks a strand of hair behind my ear, and the skin he grazes with his fingertip burns.
“Maybe,” I say.
“We’re taking off in two, Mr. Carmichael,” the co-pilot says.
“Good,” he answers to the co-pilot without taking his eyes off me. I meet his gaze and wonder what’s going on. He irritates and excites me at the same time—and this is a first for me.
“So what started gambling?”
“Not really. I’d simply prefer to talk about you.” He eases back. “Art?”
“I grew up with it. I am drawn to it. You like nice things? I like beautiful ones.”
“You must be full of yourself.”
“Huh?” I smile and realize his meaning. Flush. “You’re suave.”
“You could say I’m honest.”
“It’s hard to take a compliment after a four-year breakup.”
“You better learn to. I don’t like my compliments landing on deaf ears.”
“I’m not deaf, just have reasons not to believe a guy with the nickname Playboy.”
“I didn’t pick it.”
“But you use it.”
“I have others.”
I shrug as if I’m not insanely curious to know them. “Good for you. Let’s talk about that. I’m enjoying talking about you and gambling more than about me.”
“You’re avoiding telling me about you. That’s all right, Red. I’m patient. That’s what makes me a good gambler. I always know when to call, and when to up the stakes with a raise.”
I smile nervously and glance away.
He’s quiet. I wonder what he’s thinking. “What are you thinking?” I whisper.
“I’m thinking of our little dare—and how this is the first bet I’ve ever made I might deliberately lose.” He stares at me.
“You’re shameless.” And yet, I’ve been thinking the same thing. Having his lips on my … mine.
A silence stretches.
He reaches out and strokes my face with his thumb. I’m canting to the touch, liking it, surprised by how much I like it. I don’t want to remember him kissing me at the wedding, but I do. My taste buds tingle remembering.
“What are you wearing under that pink dress?” he asks.
My insides go wild. “Guess.”
“Why would I guess when I can know for certain?”
My lips part in shock, and suddenly I’m waiting in nervous anticipation as Cullen slips his hand under my dress, stroking the very top of my panties.
His eyes darken as he strokes downward and I feel naked, exposed.
As he inches closer, his fingers dance lower, causing a scandalous fever.
“Lace,” he whispers, his silver eyes heating as they hold mine, his touch feathery soft and investigative. “Very flimsy, a G-string. You’re definitely aiming to get laid tonight.” He shifts his hand lightly, touching the most sensitive place now. “Wet. You’re definitely getting laid tonight.”
“Is that right?” I taunt in my efforts to hide my breathlessness.
“I’d bet on it.”
My smile fades because I know how serious this man is about betting. “Really, this isn’t part of the game.”
“This isthe game.”
“No, Cullen. I …” I shake my head, trying to get a grip. “What’s the point of betting oral if we’re giving it to each other already every night?”
“Sex isn’t oral.”
He withdraws his hand, licks his finger, and sucks it into his mouth. He releases it with a pop, says, “mmm,” and leans back in his seat, and I’m clenching my thighs together in my seat, wondering how many women have made his Mile High Club.